Cole Levine
Cole Levine

“When I started looking into these opportunities abroad, Israel was a no-brainer,” he says. “I’ll be focusing on small businesses and startups.”

Partners Detroit Young Professionals board member Cole Levine is gearing up to spend eight months in Israel.

He’ll soon be joining a Masa Israel program called Career Israel that helps young Jewish professionals jumpstart their careers with on-the-ground internships and networking.

In addition to taking on a business development internship in Tel Aviv, Levine, 23, will also be studying at a yeshivah in Jerusalem while finishing applications to law school.

It’s an ambitious undertaking, but one that he’s ready for.

“When I started looking into these opportunities abroad, Israel was a no-
brainer,” he says. “I’ll be focusing on small businesses and startups.”

Coming from a family of three generations of chiropractors who have owned and operated small businesses, Levine has naturally gravitated toward wanting the same.

“I like more of a family, tight-knit organization and team mentality,” he explains. “That’s how I view myself and where I fit into these roles.”

Helping Organizations Grow

In his most recent role as retail operations coordinator at New Standard Cannabis, Levine learned everything he needed to know about small business operations that he’ll now take with him on his latest journey to Israel.

During his time with the company, he gained skills in marketing, community relations, retail operations and data analysis. He also learned how to navigate the somewhat tricky cannabis industry, which Levine explains has a lot of taboo attached to it.

Still, it’s a highly regulated market that Levine hopes more and more people can learn about. “Everything is done in a compliant manner,” he explains. “The state monitors everything from seed to consumer. It’s a great conversation to have and to explain.”

While his adulthood has been centered on helping small businesses grow, Levine has long been passionate about supporting organizations he cares about.

Originally from West Bloomfield, Levine attended Frankel Jewish Academy and was involved in BBYO. He was also a Tamarack camper and counselor. His college years, however, inspired an even deeper connection to building a thriving Jewish community.

While attending Michigan State University, where he graduated from the Eli Broad College of Business with a B.B.A. focused in finance and financial management services, Levine took on many roles to help support Jewish and student life on campus.

He served as president of the Chabad Student Center at MSU, an executive board member of the Jewish Business Association, a member of the MSU Residential Business Community and a brother and executive board member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

“I had immense pride within that work,” he says of his volunteer endeavors, particularly those centered on Jewish culture.

“Judaism has always been a big part of my life. I’m very openly proud to be Jewish.”

Building Meaningful Relationships

It’s a love that carried into his post-college years, inspiring Levine to join the Young Professionals board with Partners Detroit. He also attends Tuesday night learning.

Ayala Jedwab and Cole Levine struck up a lasting friendship during the pandemic.
Ayala Jedwab and Cole Levine struck up a lasting friendship during the pandemic.

His first introduction to the organization, which aims to connect the Detroit Jewish community with its heritage, was through a volunteer program that connected community members with Holocaust survivors in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There, Levine met one of his closest friends, a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor named Ayala Jedwab.

“Tragically, she lost both of her children and her husband when they were in America,” Levine explains. “She often refers to me as her new son because of the relationship we formed.”

Since connecting, Jedwab and Levine go out to lunch regularly. He recently celebrated her 93rd birthday with her and even introduced the Holocaust survivor to his grandparents.

“I’m very grateful and lucky to have befriended her,” he says. “As much as the program was developed for elderly participants during such a tough time, the impact she’s had on my life has really been amazing.

“I never realized how much I needed that kind of support system and communication from someone who was four times my age,” he adds.

Although he’ll be in Israel for an extended period of time, Levine plans to keep his relationships with Partners Detroit, Jedwab and business connections going strong.

“I’m really trying to embed myself into the culture and the business sector of Israel,” he says, “but at the same time, I’m not forgetting where I came from.”

Previous articleYoung Israel of Oak Park’s 18th Annual Iron Blech Cholent-Tasting Competition
Next articleTorah Portion: Learn to Be Prepared